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Letters from the Pastor

Fr. Terry - August 13, 2017

A week from Monday will be a very unusual and natural phenomenon that is a “must see”: a solar eclipse.  I heard from the radio this past week that if you are in the true shadow of the moon (which will be passing through southern Illinois and Kentucky, that you will have about 8 minutes of time in “totality” (total coverage of the sun).  These events used to bear great meaning, albeit somewhat mysterious, for people of the past, especially in polytheistic religions and cultures.  For the Jews, and ourselves, we know that there is one Lord of all who has fixed things as such, and is always in control.

On a related note, today is the 13th day of the month.  How is that related?  Well, because it is the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima, where Mary appeared on the 13th of every month: except August.  On this month, the three children were arrested and held in prison on the 13th for interrogations (and really to break up the growing crowds that were gathering to observe and pray with the children on the hill).  He tried to get information from them, hoping to trap these little children in their apparent lies, but even when dragged one by one to be thrown in boiling oil (yes, he threatened to kill them), the children would not tell any secrets that Mary had given them.  Having witnessed so faithfully, the children were released, and on the 19th (2 days before our solar eclipse this year), Mary did appear to the children.

But still, how is this related?  Well, because of the great miracle that Mary promised would occur on October 13th: the miracle of the sun, as it is often known.  For thousands of people to see, the sun danced, came closer to the earth (it seemed) and dried up the clothes and land that were soaked by a full day’s rain that just recently stopped.  This great sign was a testament to the truth of the visions and the credibility of the children, whose lives were transformed from these visions to be very saintly: prayerful, sacrificial, meek – in a word, Christ-like.

So when you look up at the sun next week with your special glasses or from your cameras (after consulting your optometrist!) you might say a few “Hail Mary’s” or pray a full rosary, remembering the motherly care of Our Lady of Fatima.  And if you don’t know the full details of what happened in Portugal in 1917, please get a book to learn about it.  I would suggest The Second Greatest Story Ever Told, which ties Fatima to WWII, Poland, John Paul II, and St. Faustina (source of Divine Mercy devotion). By the way, you can watch the 10-part “study series” titled Divine Mercy through your account on our FORMED.ORG.  It is top-notch.  Visit our parish website if you haven’t signed up yet.

Saint Thérèse, Little Flower, pray for us!